Pain and psychological well-being among people with dementia in long-term care.

Journal Article (Multicenter Study;Journal Article)


To examine the relationship between self-reported pain and psychological well-being of people with dementia (PWD) living in residential long-term care as indicated by displays of observed emotional expression over the daytime period.


Secondary analysis using repeated measures of self-report and observational data.

Setting and subjects

A total of 177 PWD were included from 17 nursing homes and six assisted living facilities in Michigan and Pennsylvania.


Negative emotional expression was used as an indicator of reduced psychological well-being. Pain was assessed through PWD's response to a question about presence of pain obtained at each observation. Cognitive impairment was assessed using the Mini-Mental Status Examination. Linear mixed models were used that accounted for correlation of negative emotional expression measurements over time for each participant and between participants within the same facility.


Among 171 participants who were able to express their pain, 44% of PWD reported pain once or more during the daytime period. Severity of cognitive impairment was related to expression of negative emotion. PWD with pain displayed more negative emotional expression than PWD without pain.


Routine pain assessment is feasible among PWD with moderate to severe dementia and positive report of pain is associated with greater observed negative emotional expression, an indicator of reduced psychological well-being. Improving pain management holds potential for enhancing psychological well-being among PWD living in residential long-term care.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lee, KH; McConnell, ES; Knafl, GJ; Algase, DL

Published Date

  • June 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1083 - 1089

PubMed ID

  • 25800276

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4478238

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1526-4637

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1526-2375

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/pme.12739


  • eng